Double-A Harrisburg Senators center fielder Michael Taylor continues a very impressive season at the plate to go a long with spectacular defense.
A high-ranking American League scout told me Taylor has all the tools defensively to play in the majors right now.
On Sunday’s “Nats Insider” heard on 106.7 The Fan, PennLive.com and Harrisburg Patriot-News Senators beat reporter Geoff Morrow told me Taylor’s defense is unlike any he has ever seen come through the Nationals organization.
“I don’t know that we’ve seen a better defensive center fielder to come through the Senators, maybe even through the Eastern League,” Morrow said. “This guy is really that good in center field with the range. Combine the range and the arm, the jumps that he gets, they are better than any other outfielder we have seen. We have seen other outfielders with great speed - Eury Perez and Brian Goodwin - but Taylor’s instincts are as good as anybody.
“He has an infielder’s ability to field hot shots on the ground, get the ball, into his glove, into his hand and to the infield or towards home plate as quick as anybody.”
Taylor also has hit 17 homers and 52 RBIs with 22 stolen bases for the Senators in 76 games. The bat has come around the loudest since .242 and .263 the past two seasons at high Single-A Potomac.
‘The bat has been I think an absolute tremendous surprise to everybody in the Nationals organization,” Morrow said. “Not that nobody thought that he couldn’t do it, but the way he has been doing it. He is hitting (.328), hitting clean-up guy power, leads the team in RBIs despite being the leadoff hitter all year long. The all-around package. And a good dude, too. Very humble, soft-spoken guy.
“I think he will be a future starter and possible All-Star for the Nationals. I think he is that good.”
Taylor has worked on his strikeout numbers, which totaled 131 last season. He had three strikeouts on Sunday, but Morrow has noticed those dwindle as Taylor gets into a nice groove.
“The strikeouts were a big concern early on,” Morrow said. “He was leading the Eastern League in strikeouts. He’s cut down a lot from the first month, maybe month and a half. His approach at the plate has been good. When he hits the ball, he has been .500 or better. It seems lately, he puts the ball in play.
“His approach is good and it’s getting better. That’s kind of the scary thing with him right now. He’s done so well with high strikeout numbers and we are seeing improvement. Every single day with him, it’s something good.”
Taylor has been invited to play the Futures Game in Minneapolis on the Sunday before the major league All-Star Game alongside right-hander Lucas Giolito, the Nats’ top pitching prospect. It won’t be long before Taylor is swinging his bat for Triple-A Syracuse and possibly the Nationals in September.